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Piano students perform recital entirely from memory

Students have the opportunity to experience something unusual from piano students of professor Del Parkinson, Ph.D.

Fourteen students will perform a piece of their choosing without the use of sheet music, in the Morrison Center Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. The students range from freshman to graduate standing.

Students said they are excited for this opportunity to perform for an audience of instructors and their peers.

These students have studied playing techniques, music interpretation and performance etiquette.

“The goal is to provide opportunities for students to perform,” said Ryan Wight, junior piano performance major. “It’s good to take advantage of those opportunities. As a performance major it fits in with my education.”

Students said they often feel nervous just before the recital, fearing making noticeable mistakes to having a total memory blank. Despite these nerves, the show must go on.

“I’m usually not nervous until two minutes before I go on stage,” said Amelia Oliphant, freshman piano performance major. “Once I sit down at the piano and start playing I’m fine. Especially being a piano performance major, I need to get used to playing for people. I feel like I grow with every single performance that I do. I’m way excited for it. I love performing for the people and the recitals are just awesome for me.”

Parkinson’s students said they are also looking forward to performing with their peers and being there to support them.

Students said there is a lot of comradary that takes place behind the scenes, and that helps them cope with the nervousness of performing from memory.

“I love being backstage with the others because we’re all back there,” said Jessica Tweedie, sophomore piano performance major. “We work the lights and open the door and stuff for each other. It’s a lot of fun back there. You can work with each other. (We say things like) ‘You’ll do great!’ and when you come off the stage everybody is like ‘You did wonderful. It sounded fantastic. You’re done!’”

Students said they thank famous pianist Franz Liszt for setting the trend of performing piano music from memory.

Today, it is now common practice for students to do many recitals without the confidence of having the music in front of them.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity for them to try out what they have been learning,” Parkinson said. “(The students) actually perform better because their focus is on playing the music rather than reading it or checking the keys. It takes a lot of time to memorize the piece but it is well worth it.”

Piano students are required to participate in this collective recital once every term.

Each one features a variety of pieces from a range of time periods. With 14 students, there is sure to be diversity.

“Everybody should come and experience it,” said Krista Hafez, piano performance and piano pedagogy graduate student. “I think sometimes (the piano) is taken for granted. The music is for me as much as it is for the audience. I want to share that with people. That’s the purpose of what we do as a musician. Come and experience live music because you won’t get this all the time.”

This event is free for everyone and open to the public.